Fighting for what we believe in (still in Hong Kong)

 Day 2,696 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country 

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).

Is it life - or our way of life?

pano

My father just turned seventy-three this week. A few days later his wife likewise made another trip around the sun. My mother will be turning seventy-three in April. I find it hard to keep up with people’s birthdays but I try to remember some of them. I congratulated my father’s wife and, in her reply, she wrote: “where did the past year go?” – where indeed.  

Last weeks entry: Kung Hei Fat Choi! – more Hong Kong

On a monthly basis I write for a Swedish magazine called Tidningen Syre. A while ago in one of the articles I pointed out that I was hardly a traveller given that I had been stuck in Hong Kong for more than a year. Not much travelling going on for me these days. Yet, while I am among the world’s three-hundred most travelled people I find that travelling is sort of a by-product of something else. Once Upon A Saga is hardly a travel project. The overall goal can however not be reached without a vast amount of travelling. To me the Saga is far more about shinning some much-needed light on the world to combat the negativities which are often and again dominant in the news cycles. People are just people and globally we have so much more in common than what most realise. The world we share is both beautiful and fascinating. I’m not arguing that it is without its problems and we certainly have a lot of work ahead of us. I’m simply pointing out that it is far better than what most people seem to be willing to accept. In fact, a great deal of things are going our way: people living in extreme poverty has plummeted over the past decades, basic education is up, literacy is up, more people than ever are living in democracies, people vaccinated (against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) are at an all-time high, child mortality is down and gender equality up. These are all important building blocks and it is going well for us!! Why are people largely unaware? Well, for starters most people don’t even realize how bad things used to be. Personally, I believe that the one-sidedness of most media is influencing us negatively. If you are told every day that you are ugly and incompetent then you will eventually loose self-confidence. If you are told the opposite then you may become over-confident. There must be balance.

1

We had a successful family hike with the Danish Seamen's Church. Lots of lovely people.

1b

Christian Von Vogel with his son Victor.

I largely also see the Saga as a “strength project”. The insane goal of reaching every country in the world in an unbroken journey completely without flying is…well: crazy! However, the amount of willpower, strength, determination, persistence and endurance it takes to reach such madness can be transferred to any goal in life. Top athletes become the best because they train their skillset everyday for years without end. I’m sure most of them wanted to quit at some point and the ones that did never made it. To win first prize you need more than persistence. You also need to have skills, support and some luck as well. Most people don’t reach for the stars for one reason or the other. But most people do attempt to achieve something: get an education, find a job, loose weight, raise funds, help more people, learn a new language, become rich, learn to play an instrument etc. If you want to learn how to play the guitar then you obviously can’t quit on the first day. As such the Saga eventually became a source of inspiration and motivation over time. And it continues until this day.

2

I had a nice evening with my friend Paul and his wonderful family. Paul is the head of Walk in Hong Kong which recently created some interesting ideas. Why not check it out?

2b

Paul and Carmen have some lovely children. And my beard was a huge hit! :)

I often challenge myself with all sorts of craziness while stuck here in Hong Kong. Some friends and I have theorized that it is a coping mechanism which I use to deal with the stress and pressure of the situation. I suspect that it is true. A very good friend of mine rolled his eyes at me and told me that he can’t keep up with all my crazy side projects. I don’t blame him as there have been a lot. Fortunately, most of my crazy challenges are highly physical and help me stay in shape. I firmly believe that a healthy body is key in keeping a healthy mind. And I’ll tell you one thing right now: it is so easy to quit!! It is hard to succeed! And that is why most people never learn how to play the guitar, never learn another language and never lose weight. I could quit today. I could leave everything behind, buy a ticket, head to the airport and be back home in Denmark tomorrow. Yeah – quitting is easy which is why most people do it. However, after seven years of this, with nearly four-hundred days of being stuck in Hong Kong, I can still say that we never quit this thing. And it’s by no means all bad. I have thousands of grand memories to look back on and hundreds of new friends because of the Saga. It has just really been time to go home for many years now. You can probably only experience so much before you need to digest and recharge. Can I recharge here in Hong Kong? Not really – there are still nine countries out there and I’m not getting any younger. Time is not on my side if I am to start a family. This was never supposed to take this long.

3

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Angela who created 'Dear Future Grand Children' along with her friends. To be continued.

Yesterday I woke up, had a cup of tea and thought to myself: “what is really under attack during the pandemic? “Is it life - or our way of life?” I suppose we are showing our strength as humans when we protect those who are most vulnerable. In fact, this is the way of our existence: we take care of our children for years until they become capable. It is built into us to take care of each other. We were all vulnerable in the beginning of our lives. It may be well worth while to remember that.

4

The geothermal conference in Denmark was a huge success. No doubt that geothermal energy is a part of the future. It would be very nice if the government would invest more in it. I was invited to join by Geoop! :) 

My days have again been very busy lately. Not much comes from nothing. The highly successful Nas Daily video, which has now been watched more than 18 million times on facebook, began with an email. Then after some correspondence I had to dig up some specific video and photo for the Nas Daily crew. Filming took a couple of days. Finally, it was released. But by then I was already working on many other things. This project has been fortunate to receive as much attention as it does. There are interviews on a weekly basis, several offers to collaborate and the Saga’s social media now host more than 100,000 accounts. I spend time generating content, researching, meeting people, chasing documents, training for the next challenge and working for the Danish Seamen’s Church. I still have a long-distance relationship to manage with my lovely fiancée and I also need to stay on top of the global situation. Sri Lanka has now opened up and I wouldn’t mind making Sri Lanka our next base. You see, the logistics of the final nine is not only about getting to a new country – it largely depends on which one. Can you imagine what it would be like to reach Palau, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Samoa or Tonga without being able to continue from there? If we are to get stuck again then it is preferable that it would be a country of size and with rich opportunity. From the remaining nine that leaves us with Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia. Meanwhile ships continue to struggle with crew changes and this planet is still far from returning to normality. What is the timeline we are dealing with? Who can say…

5

I briefly made my way back to Lamma Island to see a few a friends, collect a couple of books and have a couple of beers with Nick the local celebrity.5b

Hong Kong has begun to open up again. Restaurants are now open until 10pm, we can be seated four at a table, gyms have opened up etc. Nice! Let's hope that it holds up.

The Red Cross? Well somehow, I’m still a goodwill ambassador of the Danish Red Cross although I haven’t heard from my primary contact for over a year now. They must be busy with more important stuff. I continue to create content on a weekly basis which elevates the visibility of the humanitarian movement. We’ve got photos and stories from visiting the movement in 189 countries so there’s something to go on. The kindness, attentiveness and interest of the Danish Red Cross HQ, towards our body of work within the Saga, is inversely proportional to what I have experienced from so many volunteers, delegates and staffers around the world. Alas, that body of work only represents reaching out to the movement in 189 countries, writing and delivering more than a hundred unique Red Cross Red Crescent stories, interacting with volunteers and staff, raising global attention, raising funds and of course seven years of advocating for becoming a volunteer, donating money, donating blood or supporting in any way possible. One can absolutely comprehend why the Danish Red Cross would make no use of that ;) Yeah – I’ve always been honest about my frustrations. And its well worth while to keep in mind that the Danish Red Cross actually carries out a huge amount of invaluable humanitarian work across more than forty countries. And they do that while representing roughly 0.5% of the countries which have a Red Cross or a Red Crescent National Society.

6

Printing out newspapers in all sorts of languages is a now a part of my job.

The job at the Danish Seamen’s Church is also keeping me busy. It’s really interesting in a surprising way. I do enjoy visiting the ships and being inside the port. But I am quite familiar with that element already. The more interesting part of the job comes when a ship requests guitar strings, a specific suitcase, 5 kgs of roasted coffee beans or something else which I have never had the need for myself. I then get to do some research and go out and explore a new corner of Hong Kong which is just beautiful. Over the past year I have covered a lot of ground in Hong Kong and while I’m well aware that I haven’t seen it all – I do feel like I might have seen more than most. Where do you get guitar strings? What’s the best place to buy a suitcase? When you can’t find roasted coffee beans at the supermarket, then where do you go? Those are just a few examples and I rather enjoy the “alternative treasure hunt” within providing the seafarers with what they want. Afterall, they have been very kind to me over the years and anything I can do to repay the favour is well worth my time.

7

Salomon all the way baby!! And I'm getting ready for the next challenge. Feels good! :)

Right, on a final note my next mad challenge is coming up in a few weeks. There’s a social media celebrity named David Goggins. He is a retired United States Navy SEAL, an ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker, and author. He appears to be an explosion of energy and “can do attitude”. David isn’t much older than me and he has become a cliche of himself by always shouting stuff like: “they can’t hurt me!”, “you don’t know me!”, “who’s gonna carry the boats – and the logs!” and much, much more. He is so over the top that it is funny. But also very motivational. He came from a place of great obesity and made himself who he is today. The Goggins Challenge is to run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours straight: 4x4x48. 4 miles add up to 6.4 km. It takes me about 35 minutes to cover that distance and as I get tired it will take longer. So, to get three hours of unbroken sleep would be luxury for those two days. The overall distance adds up to 48 miles or 77.25 kilometres. It should be interesting! As you may imagine I’ve had a hard time finding anyone who will join me. But my fiancée is going to give it a go!! I love that woman!! I recently posted a video online in which I stated I would be taking the challenge upon myself and I tagged David Goggins account in which he has 3.7 million followers!! Naturally I never expected a reply…but I got one: “stay hard” he wrote.

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

Hi Res with Geoop

 

If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)

 

 Patreon Picture2MobilePay

 

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - still fighting.

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

 Once Upon A Saga logo small

Once Upon A Saga

Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 2Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 3Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 4Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 5SM LinkedIn

 

 

Add a comment

Kung Hei Fat Choi! – more Hong Kong

Day 2,689 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country 

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).

Work hard and achieve

pano

We have now entered the year of the Metal Ox. Can you feel the difference? In late 2020 I announced that I have been working on something big which I look forward to sharing with you all. We are getting closer now! It is unfortunately not a solution to reach the next country but I think it will still make your jaw drop. Stay tuned over the next weeks and you’ll find out.

Last week’s entry: The long game – sticking it out in Hong Kong

‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’ is the Cantonese phrase used for saying “Congratulations and be prosperous” during the Chinese New Year. Yeah, I took some heat a few weeks ago for calling it Chinese New Year because “some people” had a different idea about what we should be calling it. I suppose the 1.4 billion Chinese don’t mind we call it Chinese New Year. Everyone I asked here in Hong Kong seemed perfectly fine with it. However, you are more than welcome to call it Spring Festival or Lunar New Year if you want. There are various theories about the origin of Chinese New Year but the one that is accepted by most is that it began with Emperor Yao in China's bronze age. When Emperor Yao ascended to the throne, he brought his subordinates and people together to worship the sky and the earth. The day of his inauguration was set as the starting day of a year, and people have gathered annually to worship ever since. China has influenced a great many cultures around the world and continues to do so today. Calling it Chinese New Year seems suitable to me as long as I’m here in Hong Kong. You can call it whatever you want :)

1

Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone! :)

The year of the Metal Ox is about hard work and those who work hard are said to be rewarded in 2021. If you ask me, anyone who works hard is bound to be rewarded eventually. However, you need to combine hard work with working smart. There are plenty of people who break their backs working really hard every day and hardly see any significant payoff. Your direction in life has a lot to do with your personal input. Don’t expect to get what you want if you’re not willing to put in the hours. And perhaps this year – the year of the Metal Ox – will be your year.

2

Cassies's hotpot! OMG - as Harry would say! ;)

The Savagars invited me for homemade hotpot in Sai Kung and that offer was too good to resist. The Savagars have been very kind to me and invited me to stay in their guestroom even before we reached Hong Kong in January 2020. We sort of went through the pandemic together as I stayed with the family for five months. Ah, I remember when I used to think the virus outbreak would be over with in just a few months. Here were all are…much wiser. Or maybe not. But here we are. Cassie is a genius in the kitchen and the hotpot was other worldly! While Cassie was getting the food ready James and I saw second half of ‘The Mole’ which features an interesting character called “Mr James”. Edward was busy with his iPad and Harry was out playing with his friends. The windows were outfitted with traditional Chinese New Year decorations. It was really nice. Once we finished dinner, I was ready to roll over and die. Rarely do I eat that much but it was sooooooo good and Cassie kept adding more food to my bowl. We finished the evening playing Kahoot before I headed back home. Interestingly a very popular New Years gift consists of Danish butter cookies in a round tin can of the Danish brand Kelsen! That is funny for several reasons. First of all, the factory is nearby where I grew up as a child, and my mother worked at the factory for a while. I have memories of her bringing us cookies. It’s also funny because every year Maersk orders a large quantity of these cookies and hands them out left and right to employees, customers, partners etc. Between Cassie and James, they have more than forty years of Maersk working experience and have certainly seen their fair share of Kelsen cookies. I brought a tin can anyway :)

3

Lai see envelopes decorating the tree.

‘Lei see’ or ‘red packets’ are fancy little red envelopes that contain good luck money. Giving lai see to people is a big part of the Chinese New Year celebrations and it follows certain rules. First of all, you give or receive lei see with both hands. That’s quite rudimentary out here in this part of the world and goes for business cards and many other things as well. The amount the envelops contain can be anything but I have found that a very common amount is HKD 20.00 (USD 2.60). My favorite thing about lei see is that the amount doesn’t matter – it is the gesture which is important. Kristy, who works in marketing at Ritz Carlton, invited her husband Mark and I to join the hotels New Year celebration ceremony. Lots of lei see were being handed out left and right!! And all of it for good luck and fortune. It is sort of a top-down system where you receive lei see from your boss but do not give your boss lei see. And you are not expected to hand out lei see if you are unmarried. In households only children receive lei see. So, when I joined the Savagars for hotpot Cassie and James got nothing (except for cookies) while I gave Edward and Harry an envelope each.

4

Lion dance during the New Year God Worship Ceremony at the Ritz Carlton driveway.

At the Ritz, Kristy and Mark were handing out lei see left and right. Kristy had a handbag which would have contained hundreds of envelops! She laughed and told me that she would soon run out and have to return to her office for more. At the elevator we came across some staff and Kristy immediately offered them lei see but they all humbly declined saying that they already received. LOVE IT!! That really goes to prove that it is the gesture and not the money which is important. Such honesty and honor! While I love Egypt, I just couldn’t see this operating the same way there. Or in many other countries to be honest. While people around the world are just people it is interesting to see how elements of culture affect us. The ceremony involved a priest of sorts, a roasted pig, blessings and lion dance! Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune. It is accompanied by a lot of noise!! Earplugs are advised! Yet, it is super amazing to witness! I’ve seen it a few times before and it always adds to feeling of being far away from home - in a good way.

5

Andrew, Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

My friend Andrew from Chicago, USA, held a socially responsible farewell get-together before heading back home. We also managed to squeeze in a final hike together. We first met in June 2020 when my beard was shorter and I have long ago lost count of how many hikes we have been on since then. Andrew was featured in South China Morning Post last year for having hiked all of Hong Kong’s trails which is quite an accomplishment. After 2.5 years of working in finance (common trade among many expats) he accepted a job back home. I will miss Andrews sharp mind and calm personality. Within the Saga I have rarely been long enough anywhere to see people leave. Coming and leaving is a part of life in Hong Kong and I have already seen many good friends leave. There goes another one.

6

Andrew heading up Dogs Teeth Ridge.

Our final hike was a trail known as East Dogs Teeth Ridge. Some say it’s the hardest in Hong Kong but both Andrew and I shake our heads at that. It is no beginners trek though. We headed up under a clear blue sky and had great visibility across the islands. What a wonderful way to say farewell to Hong Kong. When my time comes, I know that I will cry. I feel so connected to Hong Kong by now. My tears will likely also be of joy for finally leaving! But for now, it seems that we will still have several months to go before that becomes reality.

7

Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

As some of you already know I’ve been given the honor of working as the assistant of the Danish Seamen’s Church in Hong Kong. I’m contracted by Danske Sømands- og Udlandskirker (DSUK) in Denmark and have some wonderful colleagues here some 8,662km (5,382.32mi) away from home.

8

Another day on the job.

In my job I service Danish flagged ships which have so far only been Maersk vessels. No wonder as they are the world's largest container shipping company by both fleet size and cargo capacity! Maersk has provided this unique project we call Once Upon A Saga with great assistance and support for several years now. I have been spotting their containers globally across more than 190 countries while tweeting them to Maersk as #MaerskMoments. Furthermore, I have had the pleasure of visiting Maersk offices across more than fifty countries in which I have entertained and inspired staff with stories and adventure. In return I have frequently had access to their ships as a passenger, I have many friends within Maersk, they have provided me with invitation letters, accommodation, meals and I have joined several company events. The connection goes beyond that and I jokingly call them “the unofficial partner of Once Upon A Saga” :)

9

Newspapers in all sorts of languages.

Among my daily chores I email the ships letting them know that we are ready to service them as well as possible during these troublesome times. As such I often run errands buying the seafarers whatever they request. So far that has been anything from a PS5 to coffee, food supplements and guitar strings. We also print out newspapers in multiple languages thanks to the support of SEA HEALTH & WELFARE. Once I have everything ready I head to the port and deliver. But these days seafarers cannot leave the ship unless they are scheduled for crew change and us landlubbers cannot join the ships for lunch or coffee. So, I simply deliver, thank them for their serve and wish them: fair winds and following seas.

10

The port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest ports in the world.

Yeah – a lot of things are going well for Once Upon A Saga even though we have no chance of continuing to the remaining nine countries and have been stuck in Hong Kong for more than a year. Yesterday I received notice from Instagram that the account has finally been verified! That is pretty cool. The verification is, much as the word says, a verification of a notable public figure, celebrity or global brand. It is simply a small blue star next to the account name. Anyone can create an account called Once Upon A Saga but now people can easily find the authentic account. The other part of getting verified is pure status. The little blue star is a coveted addition to any account. The Secretary General of the Danish Red Cross (Anders Ladekarl) has several times been fighting fake accounts in his name with profiles claiming to be the Secretary General. You can probably imagine how that can be dangerous. Once Upon A Saga’s Facebook account got verified a long time ago and while both Facebook and Instagram are part of the same company we simply couldn’t get verified until now.

11

Excellent scene in Kung Fu Hustle staring Hong Kong's Stephen Chow! Notice the background ;)

There’s as always lots of stuff going on in the background of this project. I don’t feel the need to share it all but I do think you should know that I am somewhat stretched for time. I get an awfully lot done across an average week which is both good and bad. Good because it is always good to get stuff done. Bad because I rarely give myself a break. I pick up small stuff as well which I shouldn’t be spending my time on. For instance, a friend and I got into a debate about the length of one of Hong Kong’s four long-distance trails: the Hong Kong Trail. The length is often listed as 50km (31mi) between markers 001-100 but I have been doubting the distance since the very first time I went across it. Also, some of my friends and I are aware that official races often extend the course (well beyond the markers) to Shek O adding extra distance to meet the 50 km required for the races. Marker number 100 is found at Big Wave Bay indicating that the trail might be 47km (29mi) and not 50km. Furthermore, my personal GPS readings often read around 46-47 km for the Hong Kong Trail. I’m not one to back down from a debate – especially not one in which I believe that I am right. The problem with claiming that a distance is shorter than what people think, is that you are “steeling” from people’s achievements. If you believe you hiked or ran 50km and find out the distance was really 47km then it is less of an achievement. Still a great achievement though.

12

Well, right is right. I wrote the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and lo and behold they replied with the above answer!! AFCD is, among other things, responsible for managing Hong Kong’s country parks and they do a mighty fine job of that if you ask me! And now we know that the length of the Hong Kong Trail is 47.5km (+/- 1km).

13

Our final nine countries depicted by Iceland's RUV. Full interview here.

Yes – silly regarding the trail length, I know. But I can assure you that my time is spent on more important things as well. Once Upon A Saga is a far more demanding project than what most people imagine. And I work hard on keeping this “train on its rails”. We would not have come this far without the support of our partners. Especially Ross DK and Geoop have been invaluable over and over again. Not only have they covered about 50% of the project’s expenses…back in early 2014 they arranged for us to travel across the North Sea onboard the good ship Westerkade, which brought us from Iceland to Canada. And they did that by contacting Reederei-Buss in Germany who owned the ship. There have been so many connections and so many people across the years. And I am grateful for every one of them! Thank you all!

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

Hi Res with Geoop

 

If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)

 

 Patreon Picture2MobilePay

 

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - verified.

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

 Once Upon A Saga logo small

Once Upon A Saga

Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 2Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 3Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 4Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 5SM LinkedIn

 

 

Add a comment

The long game – sticking it out in Hong Kong

Day 2,682 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country 

(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).

Let’s get real about it

pano

Hi, I’m Thor from Denmark. I’m among the 300 most traveled people on earth and I am nine countries from becoming the first in history to reach every country completely without flying. I’m an accomplished goodwill ambassador of the Danish Red Cross, and have paid a visit to the movement in 189 countries, raised awareness, raised funds and have symbolically connected the world’s largest humanitarian organization throughout the past seven years. My determinism, positive demeanor and ingenuity has been an example, inspiration and motivation for thousands of people. And I am tired.

Last week’s entry: Another story of endurance and teamwork – Hong Kong continued

I do not want to be in Hong Kong. There’s nothing wrong with Hong Kong – or, well, you know…there isn’t a perfect place on this planet. However, Hong Kong is not the reason why I don’t want to be in Hong Kong. I HAVE VERY LITTLE CHOICE! If we are to complete this project then the choices are as follows: get on a small boat and head into the enormous Pacific Ocean and chance it, or wait it out in Hong Kong. I’m not much of a “chance it” person unless the odds are in my favor. My only other option, as I see it, is to quit and head home. Whether you believe in the pandemic (which I think you should) or not, then there is no dispute that parts of this planet are locked down and that life is globally affected. And eight of the final nine countries, which we have remaining within Once Upon A Saga, are locked down. The Maldives is open for tourism and can be found slightly southwest of India in the Indian Ocean some 4.257km (2.645mi) away from Hong Kong. The Pandemic sucks!! It has robbed us of lives, jobs, freedom, dreams and plans. Do not let it rob you of hope! This is temporary. Play the long game!! Sure, the vaccines are rolling out later than promised and sure, we have been stuck in limbo for more than a year. And sure, there are other important issues across this planet which must be addressed as well: a lack of clean drinking water for millions, hunger, poverty, armed conflict, malaria, dengue, AIDS, pollution, global warming, climate change, natural disasters, corruption, injustice and much, much more. The world is NOT a perfect place – but I can guarantee you that it is far better than what you what you could possibly imagine. Many things have improved over the past twenty years but thats for a different entry.

1

What the heck are we going to do about this stupid pandemic? And know that it is not the last one we are going to experience! In my parent’s lifetime the population has risen from three billion to almost eight billion people! This planet is literally covered in bacteria and viruses are plentiful. According to scientist there are diseases deep inside forest which we have not even encountered yet. And as our population grows, we find ourselves in closer and closer contact with the animals we coinhabit this planet with. Viruses will jump. And with billions of new human hosts, viruses have a much higher chance of mutating. Some mutations will be benign while others will be harmful. In less than thirty years we will be ten billion people on this planet. Of course we are going to see more pandemics. History is full of them and that represents a time with far fewer people. Well, to answer my own question in relation to what we are supposed to do: we are supposed to take it seriously. The vaccines will eventually reach us and we are supposed to take them without a fuss. I personally cannot wait until I get my chance but so far Hong Kong is waiting for peer reviewed clinical trials of phase three (or so I have heard). Meanwhile we are supposed to stick to what we have been told to do for more than a year: wash hands, wear mask, keep social distance, follow the rules and use common sense. Your mailman, carpenter, office colleague or best friend might be smart. But unless they have a formal education in a relevant science, then they might not be the right ones to trust when it comes to COVID-19. To me it seems that there is an overwhelming consensus amongst epidemiologists, researchers, doctors, virologists and generally people in lab coats, that we should take this virus seriously. And while we have not experienced more than a few million deaths at this point, I think it’s safe to assume its because of all the things we have done to delay and combat this stupid virus.

2

Yeah – it is frustrating. People find it a lot easier to wait five minutes for a bus if they know it will arrive after five minutes, than waiting three minutes but not knowing how long they will have to wait for. We do not know how long we will have to wait for before COVID-19 is defeated and the world will return to normal (whatever normal was). It is stressful to wait without knowing for how long. People snap. It is understandable. Parents love their children – but being locked into a house with them is something else. Nobody said this was going to be easy and for many it surely isn’t. So, what do we do? We follow the guidelines, we respect the restrictions (even when they don’t make sense) and we try to make the best of it. The worst thing you can do to yourself is look back at the pandemic and see it as a couple of years lost. The best thing you can do is look back at it and see it as a time where you grew as a person, developed skills and became more accomplished. Especially in spite of the adversity we face.

3

Personally, I am sick and tired of all of this. I have mentioned it many times before and I’ll mention it again: I have been wanting to head home since 2015. I did not need this pandemic to come in and delay the Saga further. Without the pandemic I could possibly have been home by October last year instead of in…well, who knows now? 2021 is out of the question. We need a minimum of ten months to reach the final nine countries under the best of circumstances. Australia and New Zealand, two wonderful countries, may not even open their borders this year. In fact, it is likely that they don’t. I left home in 2013 projecting this project would be accomplished within four years (seven days per country). It has now cost me seven years of my life and I am frankly in doubt how much more of my life I am still willing to pay for it. I’m older, my fiancée is magically not older (but still). Will we be able to start a family? Is it already too late? Was that a part of the price? The border into Hong Kong has been closed since March 2020. Where there is a will, there is a way – right? I’ve been “looking for an unlocked door along an endless wall” for so long now. The difference between success and defeat is sometimes just a question about when you give up. There’s a TV series called “Alone” in which contestants need to survive individually on their respective islands in the wild. They do not have any form of outside contact and cannot know if anyone has given up. The one that survives for the greatest number of days is the winner. While on your island you cannot know if you are competing against one person or ten. And you cannot know if the other contestants are ready to give up or are as strong as a rock. Not knowing is sometimes a horrible state of mind. Not giving up is sometimes the key to victory.

4

Why am I stressed out over Once Upon A Saga? Well, first and foremost: it is not a holiday. The Saga has for years been a job with a multitude of obligations. And it keeps on going with an unknown end date. I manage everything from social media to visas and everything in between. I do get some help for somethings though. There is no real “holiday” from this project as any time off will be an extension to the end date. I have tried taking a break but it doesn’t help me relax. I’m virtually in a tunnel of countries always heading for the light which is often not visible. If I stick it out then there is a chance that I will become the first in history to reach every country completely without flying. It will however not land in my lap and it requires a lot of work. If someone is out there in an attempt to accomplish the same, then there is another unknown timeline I’m fighting against. There is also the timeline of my friends and family’s patience with me and the Saga. It his all good and well to accomplish something ambitious and unique, however if it means not being there for birthdays, weddings, graduations, bad days and good days…well… Finally, the entire weight of Once Upon A Saga is carried upon my shoulders. Now, with a hundred thousand online followers, interviews across more than 150 countries and the promise I made to the world of always keeping on keeping on. What happens if I cannot keep on keeping on? The choice is mine. But once you build something which is bigger than yourself, then it no longer comes without a responsibility. And that means I will have to reach the final nine countries completely without flying no matter if I want to or not.

5

The Church Council of the Danish Seamen's Church in Hong Kong. I knew most of them before I became an assistant. The job is going well.

I do not want to be in Hong Kong. I also do not want to be stuck due to a pandemic. However, the pandemic was not a matter of choice and in the light of that, getting stuck in Hong Kong has been nothing short of a blessing. The kindness I have received all across Hong Kong, the friends which I have made, the doors which have been opened to me, the experiences I have gained, the opportunities I have been offered, the things which we have accomplished – Hong Kong may very well be the very best place to be stuck during a pandemic. The virus is well under control and numbers are going down again. We may even see restrictions easing up after Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Lunar New Year…a dear child has many names. It begins today – so: HAPPY NEW YEAR! Nobody can default me for not making the best of this year in Hong Kong. It has by no means been a year wasted. The past year has been the year of the Metal Rat which was said to be a year of new beginnings and new opportunities for finding true love and earning more money. Oh well, I guess it was in some ways. This new year is that of the Metal Ox. In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical. 2021 is going to be a year when work will get rewarded, and those zodiac signs who are lucky in terms of money this year will be the ones that will make a considerable effort. Let’s hope that will come true. I have been working hard on something for a long while and hope to see it rewarded this year.

6

My final words to you this time will be this: do not despair. Take the example of the ox and work hard and methodical. Stay on track. Treat a stranger as a friend to be. Remember that the pandemic has touched us all and that everyone is affected by it. People are just people and together we will keep on keeping on. This is day 2,682 of Once Upon A Saga. Do you remember the time I quit and went home? No, neither do I because it never happened.

7

Thanks for the wine Mr. Söderberg. Much appreciated! :)

 

 

I would like to thank our esteemed partners for their invaluable contributions to Once Upon A Saga: DB Schenker Denmark, Kameli, Red Sand Solutions, Salomon, the Danish Red Cross and Ross DK / Geoop

Hi Res with Geoop

 

If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga still needs funding. Thank you :)

 

 Patreon Picture2MobilePay

 

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - just a guy.

"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"

 Once Upon A Saga logo small

Once Upon A Saga

Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 2Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 3Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 4Photo Mar 23 10 20 21 5SM LinkedIn

 

 

Add a comment

More Articles ...

Once Upon a Saga
Made by Kameli